Watch my Talk about the Holy Land — Palestinians and Israelis Today

A few months ago, after a year with lots of travel in Palestine and Israel as I scouted and filmed my upcoming TV special on the Holy Land, I gave a talk about the region in my hometown of Edmonds, Washington. I enjoyed a very enthusiastic audience — both in person, and watching the streaming lecture online. Since many were unable to attend or view my talk, by popular demand, we’ve post-produced it to offer it here on our blog page.

This was my first time giving this talk, and it was a fun challenge to deal with contentious issues in a balanced way. While this video is fairly long, it’s packed with lessons. These issues are important, and (as with my Iran project a few years ago) I am so impressed by how little most Americans — myself included, before this trip — really know about the Holy Land.

I’d love your comments on this talk…but only after you’ve actually watched it. When the topic of the Holy Land is raised, many of us just spout off our preconceived ideas. And many of these ideas we hold very strongly, even though they are a result of American media rather than actually visiting the region in person. Our challenge is to hear both narratives and understand the context of the region’s challenges and the baggage of the people who live there. I hope this talk helps do exactly that.

The TV special I produced, “Rick Steves’ Holy Land: Palestinians and Israelis Today,” will air on public television stations across the USA this fall.

(By the way, the streaming of talks like this one is a new era for us as travel teachers. In the spirit of this talk, we’ll be streaming nine hours of travel talks — five of which I’ll be giving personally — for free this Saturday, March 22nd, starting at 9:00am Pacific Time. Learn more on our Live Webcast page. Don’t miss it!)

If you can’t see the video below, watch it on YouTube.